Category Archives: Skein Lane Knitting Retreat

What Guilt?

That was a lovely weekend!  (I notice I use ‘lovely’ an awful lot.  Noted, and I doubt I’ll change it any time soon.  Lazy brain!)  Skein Lane Knitting Retreat.

Knitting, knitters, Tomales Bay, not even cold!  (I think I wore a sweater once, and took it off.  Shawl, yes.  Happy Grey Alpaca Shawl!)  Nancy Bush, Sally Melville, no dishes to wash.  Good times!    Windrush Farm, Black Mountain Artisans, and the wallet is a little lighter.

Nancy Bush and Sally Melville make an interesting combination of teachers, each coming from different places in knitting (translating knitting traditions for contemporary knitters, contemporary knitting for contemporary knitters).  Sunday morning, we had a few hours with both together answering questions.  Fascinating!  They’re both good teachers.  I happen to prefer Nancy Bush, but that’s because I’m fascinated by the traditional stuff (Estonian Lace!  I want more!).  I learned from both of them.  Now I just have to keep it all contained in my woefully small memory until I need it.  Ha!

Friday was chaotic, getting out.  And that’s all I have to say about that, other than that I made it in time to check in.  Phew!

I called home Friday evening.  (I had better cell coverage this year.  I wonder why?)  Talked to a very sad kid.  “I miss you, Mom.  I’m sad without you here.  Dad is driving me crazy.”  All in the sad voice.  When I called home Saturday, my husband told me he cried himself to sleep.  He wasn’t sure I should talk to the kid, but the kid wasn’t home yet from his birthday adventure.  Surprise for a friend’s birthday.  Ferry to SF, food at the Rainforest Cafe (I’m thankful I wasn’t there!), ferry back again.  I talked to him later.  He missed me still, but didn’t sound quite so pathetic.

Now he’s showing me how much he loves me!  Hugs and  Whine.  A lot of good whine.  Monday all the way home until after dinner.  Tuesday all the way home and getting ready for bed.  I feel so loved. 

Monday was exacerbated by an Incident at school.  When a teacher pulls me aside and says, “he really surprised me today,” I know we’re in trouble.  My sweet darling 2nd grader, in the middle of after school, said, “I’m going to break your fucking back!”  The teacher made sure to tell me he used the F word in context, so he knows how to use it.  That doesn’t bother me.  Other than that he was stupid enough to use the F word in school.  Not a school word!  What bothers me is the actual whole sentence.  Mean talk!  Bully talk!  The report is that he said it, the whole class went quiet, and he started crying, probably hiding in the corner.  On the way home, “Don’t tell Dad!”  “I don’t want to talk about it!”  Once he calmed down after dinner (amazing what food does for a person!), he told me he didn’t say fuck, but bruck.  So I talked at him a bit about how changing a couple letters doesn’t make it any better because people still hear it anyway.  And I talked at him about how what he said was talking like a bully.  And I talked at him again this morning about it, just for a minute.  I wonder if he heard anything I said?  Of course I told Dad.  But not in front of the kiddo, cause then we’d have to be serious, and I’ve already talked at him enough.  I told Dad I couldn’t scold him for osicon (basically potty mouth), and he laughed.  Cause he knows very well I’m worse.  And so is he.  We know where the kiddo picked up ‘the word.’  The threat, on the other hand, is not mine.  But he’s smart.  He knows how to put things together and build a better whole. 

And now I feel like finishing a few things.  Too bad I’m at work…



Filed under Excursions, Kid Stories, Knitting and more knitting, Skein Lane Knitting Retreat

A few more skeins

Windrush indigo cochineal mohair wool
Windrush Farms Mohair and Wool 2 ply dyed with indigo and cochineal

Bo Rage mohair on silk
Bo-Rage Yarns Finest Kid Mohair spun on raw silk

Aurora Whisper
Aurora Whisper merino lace

(bought during Skein Lane Knitting Retreat 2008)


Filed under Skein Lane Knitting Retreat, Uncategorized

Knitting Retreat!

Don’t let me say I’m happy again. Since the last post I was nailed with another nasty bug. I’ll spare you the details. (If you’re unlucky enough to have talked to me last week, you weren’t spared. Sorry about that.)

But this last weekend was Knitting Retreat! Aaaahhhh…

I packed light. No raincoat. No camera. No shoes. No extra needles.

Yup. It rained. Good thing I had wool socks to wear in my sandals. I could have used some different needles. And no photos!

Imagine a photo of happy knitters.

Imagine a photo of some lovely purple mohair and a skein of green hand-dyed merino laceweight and some lovely soft pastel mohair and silk.

Imagine a photo of a rabbit.

Imagine a photo of Melissa Leapman instructing (and entertaining).

Imagine my pillow project done. I’ll join you.

Things I learned, some of which I might have known already, but always good to remember:

Cables are fun!

I want to knit more cables. All for me. Including a huge wool blanket.

I’m too lazy to make a living as a knitting designer. And I have grave doubts I have the brain for it.

Those are some craaaazy increases at the bottom of her knot cables. And fun!

Raining bugs is worse than raining raindrops.

Cables are fun!

Cable needles are useful and sometimes essential.

Cable needles are not hard to use.

Cables are fun! (I already knew that.)

Ooh! And I learned a fix for that loose far left stitch on the cable cross row that drives me batty. (I wonder how I can work it on a garter background?)

Cables are fun!

Mondays are not so much fun. I forgot Monday is soccer practice, and forgot where to pick up the kid today. Good thing they walk the leftover kids back to school. Gah!


Filed under Excursions, Knitting and more knitting, Skein Lane Knitting Retreat

Now with more Knitting Retreat

I’m sick on a Saturday.  Grumble grumble grr.  And we had plans:  wash all the dishes, clean the bathroom, go to the Farmers’ Market, go to the grocery store, ride around on BART.  The morning grizzled, so that was a good excuse not to go to the Farmers’ Market.  The dishes and the groceries had to be done, so they were.  The bathroom, well, tomorrow’s another day.  And I could not avoid BART.

On the drive to school, we’re along the BART tracks for a while.  Every morning, and every afternoon, the Kid says, “I want to go on BART.  When are we going on BART?”  This week, I answered, “Saturday.”  I’m stuck.  But it was a nice, low-key adventure, and I downed tea and ibuprofen all day.  We walked over to the Ferry Building and ogled the skateboarders on the way – ogled because somehow they managed not to run into anybody.  We watched the ferries fill up and leave.  Now we have more plans involving BART, ferries, my grandmother in Marin, and a lot of walking.  The Kid chased after some pigeons, “I’m going to get you!” and a whole crowd of pigeons swooped after him.  Ready to defend their own?  Joining in the chase?  Or looking for the trail of crumbs that fell off him as he ran?  Who knows?  But we got back home safely, despite the pigeons.

I pay more attention to buildings after reading The Architecture of Happiness by Alain de Botton.  101 California is interesting with it’s columns lifting it off the block on one corner and atrium windows pyramiding underneath through the columns and down to the sidewalk.  It nicely opens up some space and clears out the claustrophobia.  And, before I forget, the Friday morning sky was blue with spreads of small clouds.  Driving into downtown Oakland on 12th Street, I noticed a building I’ve not noticed before.  It’s one of those buildings with lots of green/blue glass windows.  It rippled with the sky Friday morning.  The Kid noticed the very top floors have windows that curve inward and didn’t reflect the sky.  The Kid has good eyes.  One thing I like about this drive into downtown is the landscape/skyscape of very different buildings against each other.  Across 12th Street from the rippling sky building is the Tribune building, with a clock tower.

It’s been a surprisingly nice Saturday.

Did I say more Knitting Retreat?  Oh, yes!  Now I’m not at work, I’m at leisure to use lots and lots of words.

2007 Skein Lane Studio Knitting Retreat with Chris Bylsma
trees in the sky

Not that we can tell from this photo, but Chris is showing off the supermodel walk we learned during Show and Tell.  It is absolutely possible to knit and laugh.  I know – I had a great view of the laughter all weekend, and I did it myself.
hilarity with chris

Good thing we laugh.  It’s amazing how intense knitting a teddy bear vest can be.  And, no, it wasn’t just the steeks.  It’s a great project choice.  Small, so it’s not so hard to catch up.  It’s for a teddy bear, and teddy bears don’t complain out loud.  And Chris’s Madly Plaid vest is loaded with interesting and useful techniques:  starting out from a waste yarn crochet chain, shaping points and their placement, adding vertical stripes without intarsia or stranded knitting, knitting in the round all the way up shaping armholes and the V-neck with steeks, preparing and cutting the steeks, shoulder seams, applied I-cord edging.  Mine’s not done yet.  I’m still working on the applied I-cord.  The Kid complains that the leopard is still cold, and so is the giraffe.  Mom?  We’ve got to get these things finished!  All the peluches in the house are threatened by cold!

Friday night after dinner, Marlie from Black Mountain Artisans in Pt Reyes Station and Mimi from Windrush Farm inspired us.  Marlie and Mimi are marvelous workers and artists.  They believe that we should not be limited by what we can buy.  Mimi told/reminded us we can have our own unique yarn, even if we don’t spin it ourselves, by combining different yarns together as we knit.  Marlie kept pulling out unique skein after skein and unique finished article after finished article.  “Oh, this was fun!  I spun this with that using the other technique.”  “You just knit a ___ and put it together like this…” “So and so used this yarn and knit it up like this.”  They had wonderful, inspiring energy late Friday night.  I’d love to spend more time with them, and I hope we have the opportunity to visit Mimi’s Windrush Farm next year.

Inspired us right into buying a few things!  Green mohair and silk hand dyed by Bo-Rage, autumn-y hand dyed and hand spun merino and silk by Bo-Rage, and luscious hand spun hand painted mohair curls on silk.  Reach your hand into the monitor and squeeze these locks! 
Black Mountain Artisans1

On our way back into the real world Sunday, I picked up a little hand dyed mohair to play with, from the store in Pt Reyes Station on Hwy 1.
Black Mountain mohair 

Bad enough that Carolyn had Black Mountain tempting us with lovely goods.  She also had yarn from Lisa Souza.  Oddly enough, I bought something.  This is superwash merino hardtwist petite, color Earth Birth (on a bed of mohair locks).
Lisa Souza earthbirth

I bought one or two more ordinary, and lovely, things (again on a bed of mohair locks).
cotton fleece and maggie merino

I now have a dilemma – what can I make that is worthy of these locks?

Thank you, Carolyn, for a lovely retreat.  It seems like a magical coming-together of wonderful teacher, wonderful knitters, wonderful yarn.  But I know that the magic starts with a lot of very hard work.  Thank you.

1 Comment

Filed under Excursions, Greedy Me, Knitting and more knitting, Oakland, Skein Lane Knitting Retreat

Good Times

Last weekend, Mom and I went to Marshall CA, on the east side of Tomales Bay, for the Skein Lane Knitting Retreat with Chris Bylsma.

We steeked (or stucked?).
armhole steek1

armhole steek2

We hiked from rooms, to dining hall, to class through a beautiful place.
beautiful place

We saw wildlife.
deer were here

Chris is a wonderful instructor and very funny and warm.  Carolyn is a marvelous hostess – very good at making us all feel comfortable and special.  A large group of knitters tends towards hilarity and buys a lot of yarn if given half a chance.  We’re going again next year.  And the year after, and 2010 too.  Just try to stop us!

During the week before we left, abuela and the Kid played hide and seek. Here’s one of the funnier hiding places.
hide and seek

And one night, the Kid said, “Put on my pants!”  So I did.  (He took the picture.)(Which I should have cropped.)
Put on my pants


Filed under Excursions, Kid Stories, Knitting and more knitting, Skein Lane Knitting Retreat